Brussels, 19 Nov 2004
The Council reached a general approach on the Directive on a specific procedure for admitting third-country nationals for purposes of scientific research.
The draft Directive lays down the conditions for the admission of third-country researchers to the Member States for more than three months for the purposes of carrying out a research project under a hosting agreement with a research organisation.
According to the draft text, a researcher holding a residence permit shall be entitled to equal treatment with nationals as regards:
- recognition of diplomas, certificates and other professional qualifications in accordance with the relevant national procedures;
- working conditions, including pay and dismissal;
- branches of social security as defined in Regulation EEC Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of the Council of 14 June 1971 (on the application of social security schemes to employed persons and their families moving within the Community);
- tax benefits;
- access to goods and services and the supply of goods and services made available to the public.
In order to attain the keystone objective of rendering European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world, the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 has asked the Council and the Commission, together with the Member States where appropriate to take the necessary "steps to remove obstacles to the mobility of researchers in Europe by 2002 and to attract and retain high-quality research talent in Europe." This desire was reiterated in the Council conclusions of 26 November 2002, which called on "the Member States, in collaboration with the Commission, to strengthen the actions being undertaken to develop the European research area, in particular by: facilitating or continuing to facilitate entry and residence for researchers from third countries." This concern was also shared by the European Parliament, notably in its Report of 9 May 2000 and a Resolution of 18 May 2000.
It has been found that the European Union will need 700 000 additional researchers by 2010 if it is to achieve the objective set by the Barcelona European Council to devote 3% of the Member States' GDP to research and technological development by the end of the decade. As it is unlikely that the European Union will be able to produce this considerable number of researchers itself, it will also be necessary to take measures to attract researchers from outside the Union.